USI facing a membership crisis?

Disclosure: I served on the USI LGBT  Campaign between 2006 and 2008

Reports have surfaced that two Dublin Colleges are mulling their membership of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). Both Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD) have issues with current USI Policies and Campaigns according to a post on Studenty Dublin.

According to the post  TCDSU president Ryan Bartlett is seeking a referendum on the Union’s affiliation with the USI. Bartlett’s main criticisim focused on the planning and co-ordination of the ‘Stop Fees, Save the Grant’ campaign last year. He said “The national protest didn’t receive enough attention earlier on, which caused logistical difficulties and difficulties with getting the message out there to students and really getting students to understand what the issues were what solutions were available and what the plan of action was.”

“I’m not convinced that the “Stop Fees, Save the Grant” campaign has represented Trinity students and other colleges seem to have accepted that there is a different sentiment in Trinity. This means that students have to ask whether or not they want to continue being represented by USI.”

The post also raises specualtion about UCDSU’s financial difficulties which could see it withdraw from USI.

This year also sees University College Cork (UCC) hold its triennial referendum on USI membership. With only the current President of the SU and the Vice President not seeking election they could be left thin on the ground in what could be a tight vote.

It will be a tough year for USI if any of the three colleges dis-affiliated and it could be in dire straits if all three  leave and join the University of Limerick and the Cork Institute of Technology outside of USI.

Education Not Emigration

While watching the news tonight, my tune on the National March against the proposed increase in College fees changed. Some will call me, a mé féiner, but I think what the Government is proposing is idiotic.

Doubling the Registration Fee is stupid.

Cutting the Grant is stupid.

Placing a €500 fee on post leaving cert courses is stupid.

How are we supposed to afford an education in this county? Even a PLC?

We need to properly fund the education sector, but taxing students is not the way. Its time to look at other options. A graduate tax or other method that is fair and progressive needs to be be looked at. A student loan system would be as bad as this idea in my opinion.

So tell the government what you think.

March on November 3rd.

For more information see Educationnotemigration.ie

Check with your local Student Union about buses to the protest.

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USI Mess

Well I read with much disappointment what happened at National Council in Galway. I must say though that USI is worse off without Steven Conlon. I had the pleasure of working for two years with Steven when he was on LGBT Working Group and when he was LGBT Rights officer. I am sure Steven had the best intentions when he wrote the memo. Its a pity that it was leaked and he had to resign.

When Steven was LGBT RO he revitalised the campaign and we got sooo much coverage due to his hard work. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Steven, and I know he will go far whatever he ends uo doing due to his hard work ethic and skills.

USI has a lot of work to do now, it always did. The LGBT Campaign was and still is the most high profile part of the union. USI needs to go back to its roots.

Thats all I will say on the matter, apart from UCC SU are in a bot of trouble with there class council

Civil Unions Bill 2007 – Get Lobbying!

On Wednesday evening, the Dail votes on the Labour Party Civil Union Bill, proposed by Brendan Howlin, TD.
Based on USI’s lobbying to date, we estimate that we have around 70 of the required 83 votes for the bill to pass this stage. The Government will decide at Cabinet tomorrow (Tuesday) its position on the bill. If the Government opposes it, and they likely will, that will mean that unless we can find 15 TDs on the Government benches to support it, the bill will be defeated.

USI has identified the following TDs as members who may support the bill if pressure is applied. Between now and Wednesday, we need you to circulate this email to everyone on your mailing list, and ask them to contact these TDs before Wednesday, asking them to switch sides and support the bill.
Even if only one or two do so, it will be a big story, and a massive boost to the campaign. John Mc Guirk and I have spent the day ringing, emailing, and faxing party whips, individual TDs, press offices, and anyone who would listen to us!!

Remember, fax, email, and phone these TDs constantly and ask them to VOTE YES on the Labour Party Civil Unions Bill.

Sile De Valera – FF 01 6183000 sile.devalera@oireachtas.ie

Dennis O’Donovan – FF 01 61833079 dennis.odonovan@oireachtas.ie

Dermot Fitzpatrick – FF 01 6183699 dermot.fitzpatrick@oireachtas.ie

Jim Glennon – FF 01 6183910 jim.glennon@oireachtas.ie

Barry Andrews – FF 01 6183856 barry.andrews@oireachtas.ie

Fiona O’Malley – PD 01 6183062 fiona.omalley@oireachtas.ie

Peter Power – FF 01 6184232 peter.power@oireachtas.ie

Mae Sexton – PD 01 6183361 mae.sexton@oireachtas.ie

Mildred Fox – IND 01 6183548 mildred.fox@oireachtas.ie

Jerry Cowley – IND 01 6184050 jerry.cowley@oireachtas.ie

Marian Harkin – IND 071 9145890 marian.harkin@oireachtas.ie

How TDs Vote on Civil Unions Bill Could Affect Their Election Prospects – USI

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has preannounced an audit of TDs’ votes For/Against the Civil Unions Bill when voting takes place in the Dáil next Wednesday, 21st February.

Students are to note precisely which TDs try to block the legislation in the Second Stage vote.

The Civil Unions Bill would end discrimination against lesbian and gay people in many areas of law.

As students prepare to consider the audit’s findings, USI urges TDs to bear in mind that the “overwhelming majority” of the public support Civil Union legislation [1].

USI lesbian and gay spokesperson Steve Conlon said: “Students will look to see how every individual TD votes on this legislation. Simply, we regard attitudes towards Civil Union legislation as a litmus test of TDs’ support for fairness and equality. Those who vote ‘Nay’ vote to oppose these principles.

“Because lesbian and gay people cannot currently enter into a Civil Union or marry, they are subjected to statutory discrimination in many areas. The proposed Bill is a means to end this discrimination.

“Civil Unions are not the same as marriages, and USI continues to seek justice for same-sex couples who should have the right to marry in this State. Nevertheless, Civil Union legislation would improve the State’s treatment of lesbian and gay people, creating a better society for all.”

USI President Colm Hamrogue said: “In a very meaningful sense, all eyes will be on TDs on Tuesday when this Bill is debated, and especially on Wednesday when they will vote.

“The Labour Party is to be commended for sponsoring such an important piece of legislation.

“By publicly announcing an audit of how each individual TD votes – and communicating this to students across Ireland – we will be encouraging our members to exercise their vote for candidates who truly represent them.”

1. A Lansdowne poll at the end of 2006 commissioned by GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) found that 84% of respondents were in support of either civil marriage of full civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

also reported on breakingnews.ie

I also got an e-mail today from a friend in the SGMHP asking people to e-mail their TD’s on this issue. I think this is a good idea and shall be emailing my TD’s now and will post up the e-mail and any responses I get.

USI "DISAPPOINTED" OVER COURT’S REFUSAL TO UPHOLD EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has expressed deep disappointment at the High Court’s rejection of a bid by two women to have their marriage in Canada upheld under Irish law.

Calling the legal judgement “questionable”, USI’s Steve Conlon said:
“it is clearly untenable to interpret the 1937 Constitution in a way that fails to read into its provisions a safeguarding of fundamental human rights”.

USI said the High Court ruling would only serve to intensify pressure on the Government to entrench the right of gay and lesbian people to enter into civil marriage on nondiscriminatory terms – if necessary by passing new legislation.

USI gay and lesbian spokesperson Steve Conlon said: “USI is deeply disappointed that the 1937 Constitution has been interpreted as a reason for refusing to acknowledge the right of gay and lesbian people to be treated as equal citizens under Irish law.

“The 1937 Constitution was meant, and is still meant, to entrench and advance the rights of all Irish people without exception. The Constitution was never meant to restrict or reduce our rights. Surprisingly, that appears to have been the verdict of the High Court today.”

USI President Colm Hamrogue said: “The 1937 Constitution is a living document, in the sense that it should be interpreted in line with the evolving standards and expectations of a civilised society. The Constitution should buttress, not undermine, civil equality.

“USI will continue to support efforts by Drs Zappone and Gilligan – and thousands of other citizens – to win acknowledgement in Ireland of their human rights to enter into civil marriage on an equal footing.”

WORLD AIDS DAY ‘HUMAN RED RIBBON’– USI LEADS PUBLIC EVENT

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI), marking World Aids Day on Friday 1st December, will this morning head up a Human Red Ribbon formed by hundreds of members of the public in Dublin’s Trinity College.

The event – open to the general public – is co-organised by Trinity College Students’ Union. In addition to students from across Ireland, the Human Red Ribbon will bring together local residents, commuters and tourists.

The Human Red Ribbon symbolises support for those living with HIV and AIDS, and each supporter will wear an item of red clothing. The Human Red Ribbon also challenges the stigma and prejudice surrounding these conditions.

USI President Colm Hamrogue said: “The Human Red Ribbon is a simple yet powerful way of symbolising our determination to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS and support people living with these conditions.

“The Irish people are demanding that governments and drug companies step up their spending on HIV and AIDS prevention and medical research.

“Governments and drugs companies must work together and meet their moral responsibility to make treatments available to the entire global community. People in the Third World must not be denied something as precious as life because of rich nations’ apathy.”

USI Welfare Officer Kelly Mackey said: “Governments and drugs companies have vital roles to play, but every individual must also play their part in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS.

“On World Aids Day, USI is advising people of all ages that condoms are by far the most effective means of protecting yourself against HIV and AIDS.

“Drug users should always use brand-new needles which are perfectly sterile.”

If your around please show your support in your own way for World Aids Day (An Lá Domhanda SEIF, jour de SIDA du monde)

USI CALLS FOR SATURDAY VOTING TO COMBAT ‘TWO CONSTITUENCY’ PROBLEM

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has warned that only Saturday voting can prevent thousands of young people from being denied the right to vote.

Elections held Monday-to-Friday disenfranchise students who reside in two constituencies. Long distance travel is impossible for full-time students during the week, USI said.

At least half of all full-time students reside in two constituencies – a college residence and their permanent family home. For one in three students, the distance separating college from their permanent home exceeds 80 kilometres.[1]

Based on HEA figures, Saturday polling would allow up to 90,000 full-time students the chance to travel to the constituency where they are registered to vote.

USI President Colm Hamrogue said: “Already this month, we have seen signs that marginalised electors will be hit by a variety of obstacles to voting in the next election.

“If the Government is serious about maximising voter turnout – particularly among young people – then it must commit to holding the next general election on a Saturday.

“Half of all full-time students divide their year between two voting constituencies: their college address and their permanent address. At the moment, students can only guess which of their constituencies they should register to vote in since nobody knows the exact date when the election will fall.”

USI Education Officer Bernadette Farrell said: “Keeping polls open until late in the evening is vital – but late opening still assumes that all voters have their evening free to vote.

“Weekday polling discriminates not only against students. Thousands of employees and managers are also extremely busy during the business week, and there are many reasons why they would seize the chance to vote on Saturday.

“USI urges all TDs from all political parties to insist on this vital pro-democracy reform.”

USI LAUNCHES PRE-BUDGET SUBMISSION

‘Time to focus on education Have-Nots,’ say students

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI), today launching its pre-Budget submission, said its proposals are informed by “the needs of students and young people from all walks of life”.

Central too, said USI, are the needs of those “who have never been to college but deserve every opportunity to do so”.

USI’s pre-Budget submission sets out students’ spending priorities for Third Level, as well as measures to address the health and welfare needs of young people. These include measures to support people:

• On Low and Fixed-income Backgrounds: USI calls for a fairer, higher, Maintenance Grant that reflects the actual costs of studying at third level.
• Returning to Education: USI calls for the extension of Free Fees and Maintenance Grants to include part-time students; and funding for childcare.
• In Society: USI calls for measures to support the mental, sexual, and physical health of young people.

USI President Colm Hamrogue said: “Our pre-Budget submission addresses the Higher and Further Education needs of students and non-students. It is not only young people who would benefit from implementation of our plans, but also adult learners and those who might return to study in future.

“USI is calling for substantial new investment in college infrastructure. We also want to see financial supports beefed up substantially, and applied more universally to people from different backgrounds. At the moment, parents, part-time students and low-income learners are not receiving the necessary level of support.

USI Welfare Officer Kelly Mackey said: “Higher and Further Education is a passport to economic and social mobility, but young people will only derive maximum benefit from education if their health and welfare needs are properly addressed.

“USI is calling on Ministers to invest in tackling the increase in Sexually Transmitted Infections. Investment is also required to fund no-cost medical care for thousands more individuals.”

To view the USI Pre-Budget Submission in PDF Format click here

Don’t vote? Then you can’t complain!


Well this is definatly my philosophy on complaining about teh government! Make sure your registered!!!

How do I register to vote in the next General Election?

The Register of Electors is being updated from November 1st
2006 until
November 25th 2006. The register is currently in a draft
format,
which means that names are continuously being added and
deleted. Even
though you may have voted in previous elections or
referenda, you
still need to check that you are registered to vote.

You will be able to register to vote on campus from 14th –
16th of November in
the Students Union office, Boole, Main and the Student
Centre.

You do not need to bring proof of address or proof of
identity.

Am I eligible to vote?

Age

» If you are over 18 now, you can register to vote.

» If you will be over 18 by February 15th 2007, you can
register to vote.

Nationality

» Irish citizens may vote at every election and
referendum;

» British citizens may vote at Dáil, European and local
elections;

» EU citizens (other than British citizens) may vote at
European
and local elections;

» Non-EU citizens may vote at local elections.

How do I check the Register of Electors?

You can check if you are included on the Register of
Electors by in
post offices, public libraries, Garda stations, courthouses
and county
and city councils or you can check it online at

checktheregister.ie

Changes, such as a change of address or
adding your name, can be made to register until November
25th 2006.

Can I register after November 25th 2006?

After November 25th 2006, you will not be able to enter your
name on
the Register of Electors. If you are unable to register your
name
prior to November 25th 2006, you can apply for inclusion on
the
Supplement to the Electoral Register. The Supplement to the
Electoral
Register will allow you to vote at any election or
referendum held
during that particular year. You can apply for inclusion on
the
Supplemental Register at least 13 working days before
polling day.

Postal Voting
Voters are normally required to vote in person at an
official voting
centre. However you may be eligible to vote by post if:

» You are studying full time at an educational institution
away
from your home address where you are registered.

» You cannot get to a polling station because of a
physical
illness or disability.

You cannot register to vote by post after November 25th
2006. If you
register to vote by post, you may vote by post only. You
cannot vote
in a polling station.

Voters with Disabilities
There are special arrangements to assist electors with
certain
disabilities to exercise their voting rights. Some of these
arrangements include:

» Voting at an alternative polling station if a person’s
local
station is inaccessible;

» Postal voting by electors living at home who cannot go
to the
polling station due to a physical disability or illness;

» Special voting facilities provided in hospitals, nursing
homes
or similar institutions for residents who cannot go to the
polling
station due to a physical disability or illness;

» Assistance in voting at the polling station by a
companion or
by the presiding officer for people with a visual
impairment, physical
disability or literacy difficulty;

» The use of photographs and party political emblems on
ballot
papers to assist visually impaired people and people with
literacy
difficulties;

» The display of a large print copy of the ballot paper in
polling stations to further assist visually impaired people
and people
with literacy difficulties.

For more info click here:

http://www.environ.ie/DOEI/DOEIPol.nsf/wvNavView/wwdElections?OpenDocument&Lang=en

All material (c) Union of Students in Ireland 2006.
http://www.usi.ie

Throughout all this week starting Tuesday 14th Novembe the UCC Politics Society in conjunction with the SU and USI will be launching the “UCC 2 Vote in 2007” Campaign which seeks to get the Students of UCC registered for the general election next
spring.

Please take the time to register your vote and realise that
every vote counts.

“537 Votes in Florida changed History”

“The Greatest disease of my generation is Apathy”- Kurt
Cobain.